Thursday, February 28, 2013

February is almost over and Spring is closer!!!

I hope you can all see my HAPPY dance....yes that is for Spring to come!!!  As much as I have loved my February...I am so looking forward to March (and Spring coming!!!)

First let me tell you why I loved FEBRUARY....

Clip Art picture of February


I began February with a re-do of my blog design.  I took it out of an automatic Dynamic Views design to a simple design that I made my own.

I bought my own URL this month too....www.thepatrioticpam.com!
I had lots of help from the e-class that I took by Elise Blaha Cripe and Elsie Larson called Blog (Design) Love!  Elise has her own blog called Enjoy It, and I have to admit from one military wife to another....this is one of my absolute favorite reads.  She tells a beautiful story and shows design, crafts, and many other things along the way.  And Elsie has two blogs, one called A Beautiful Mess and another called Everyday Elsie.  What I love about both of her blogs is the beautiful photography along with what she is saying or doing.  For me the photography on a blog is a huge draw and one I really am striving to get better at myself.  I don't believe I am done with my design....I like to think it is always a work in progress.  I really learned so much from this class, with many hands on HTML tips!!!  As a creative person, there will always be something that I want to make better, change for the season, or just update for the fun of it.  Just as life is always changing, I truly believe that this will always change with me!



February also brought my small Connecticut town a lot of snow.  We normally see about 36-40 inches of snow (on average) for the entire winter.  This year we were blessed with a blizzard that brought 34-36 inches of snowfall in less than 24 hours.  It shut down our town for an entire week, that is a lot of time down when you consider this is New England!  And for those of you new to my blog, I am a very new New Englander, as this is my first winter!!!  I was used to 4-6 inches shutting down KY/TN where I used to live, because snow removal was an issue....but here they have the equipment.  I quickly learned that that much snow takes DAYS to clear even with equipment.  I just like to say that was my WELCOME to New England snow storm!


We shoveled for days just to clear our driveway.  The snow drifts in the middle of our steepest part of our driveway were definitely 5 feet high if not higher.  Muscles that I didn't even know I had hurt for days.


We definitely enjoyed great sledding and playing in all that beautiful snow.  What I didn't realize is that when that much snow falls, it stays with you for weeks....and turns not as pretty as the days/weeks go on.  As February draws to a close, we still have snow completely covering the ground, even though it hasn't snowed again here since the blizzard.  And I am hoping that March brings lots of melting, as I have now officially had enough of the pretty white stuff for one winter!  :O)

February began my 12 weeks of Mac N Cheese recipes to share with you guys.  Every Tuesday I post a new edition to this collection.  I have to admit, that my family definitely does Mac N Cheese a lot, due to my oldest absolutely loving it.  We have tried to refine it, and take it to a new level.  As my husband likes to say, we like to make "adult" Mac N Cheese with a few kid editions mixed in.  I hope you will try a few of these and let me know what you think.  I got a thumbs up from a friend who tried week 2 and her family LOVED it and there were not even any left overs....I would say that was a huge hit!



I also found time in February to show off a few new craft tutorials.  I must admit that the cold in the workshop/garage this winter has really hindered me into wanting to go in there, but I pushed through as I got a new order for a set of baby blocks that I make for a friend's military unit.  Once I began working through the cold, I realized it wasn't that bad, as long as I didn't stay out in it too long.  My biggest issue in the cold (besides being cold myself) is getting the stain or clear coats to dry....that little warning about not using below 40 degrees is true.  So I would spray in garage (didn't want fumes in house) and then after it sat for a few minutes in workshop, I would then pick up cardboard under project and bring it all into house to dry.  Still not always a good smell, but less smell than it could have been.  I really look forward to spring for this reason too.

Clip Art Picture of March


Well onto MARCH...I have at least TWO very exciting things happening in March.  The first is one I believe will be big on my end of March highlights and that is an upcoming trip.


I am getting to go watch my daughter compete in College Cheer Nationals Competition!  I can't wait.  I haven't seen her since the Holidays and I am so excited to give her a hug and then watch her team be on FIRE on the competition floor.  During this same trip, one of my best friends is also meeting me there.  We both had been next door neighbors the last few years until we both had to move last summer.  So she is coming up from the south and I am coming down from the north to meet in the middle.  We will get to not only watch college cheer competition, but also take in a college baseball game or two, as her son is playing in the same state the same weekend!  Quite a coincidence!!!

Mom Blog to Money Blog

Next thing that I am excited about for March, is that I have just began a new blog class.  I have just begun the "Mom Blog to Money Blog" class.  I will be taking my time through March going through the steps of it and seeing what I can change and update to make my blog better.  I would love for anyone out there interested in going through it as a battle buddy to let me know.  If you have been thinking about doing it, here is the link....sign up and let me know, so we can go through this together.  :O)

Last but not least, I am just truly excited to start seeing a few warmer days in March!  I am even looking ahead to April....as it will be that much warmer....and I might just have a trip to Florida to tell you about....shhhh....but that will have to wait until later! ;O)  I have many great RECIPES, CRAFTS and even some spring cleaning/organizing planned to showcase for March!  I hope each and every one of you have something fun to look back on for February and something exciting to look forward to in March!!!

EnJoY!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

DIY Wooden Handmade Trivet

DIY Trivet
My craft this week is a trivet for the dinner table.  I really have needed to get new trivets, and decided instead of buying something, I will make a few wooden ones.  In our family, we use trivets all the time. Especially on pizza night, where we are bringing in hot pizzas either in personal pans or on a hot pizza stone fresh off of our Big Green Egg.  Hope you enjoy this simple, yet elegant design.

Items needed:

  • 3/4in thick piece of wood....cut to 7in by 7 in square.  (I found an inexpensive piece of popular at Lowe's that was already 7 1/4in wide and 24in long.  So I just cut squares that were 7 1/4in wide.  You can adjust as needed)
  • Paint (Khaki, Melted Chocolate Brown and Black.  I used Apple Barrel paints)
  • Painters tape (I actually used pin striping tape from the auto parts store....it comes in different widths and stays put well for painting.)
  • Clear Coat spray
  • Felt furniture feet in small circles

Directions:

1.  After I cut my wood to size, I sanded it smooth.  Then I painted the entire piece with the Khaki color. Let dry.

2.  Next I lined my board with tape.  As you can see, I used three different widths of tape to create different patterns.  I didn't really want anything too uniform.

3.  Next I began painting my darker colors.  I use a mix of Chocolate Brown and Black mostly....sometimes mixing in a hint of the Khaki too.  Just giving it a wood grain look.

4.  Once painted completely, let dry.

5.  Once completely dry, pull off the tape and prepare to clear coat.

6.  I recommend 3-5 coats of clear coat on it.  I did 5 coats and let dry completely between each one.  This usually takes a few days to complete all coats of clear.  (Slowest part of entire project!)

DIY Trivet
7.  Once last coat of clear is dry, I place 4 felt feet onto the bottom using the felt guard circles made for furniture bottoms.  Can be found in hardware stores and Target.  Great for a nice cushioned finished on bottom of wood.  

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  If you liked this, you might check out these...


I would love for you to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest or Google Friend Connect.  Stay on top of what I am creating next by receiving emails of my new blog posts.  Look to the right hand side of this post for the links.  

Thanks for visiting.  I always would love to see any projects that this project inspired for you.  Please feel free to leave a link in the comments.  
Enjoy,


I usually link to these parties....HERE!

I have been featured with this post here...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

12 Weeks of Mac N Cheese - Week 4 (Spicy Buffalo Mac N Cheese)


Week 4 of 12 Weeks of Mac N Cheese
Spicy Buffalo Mac N Cheese

This week we went with a little different variety and made our Buffalo Mac N Cheese.  Although we LOVE to put hot sauce even in our normal mac n cheeses, we usually only add about a teaspoon to give it flavor.  This week's Mac N Cheese has over 1/2 cup of Franks Hot Sauce.  As we like to say, "kickin' it up a notch"!  

Ingredients:
  • 28 oz Elbows Pasta
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 6 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp spicy brown mustard
  • 4 cups of milk
  • 2 cups Gouda Cheese
  • 1 cup Fontina Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Vermont Sharp Cheddar (We used a speciality Vermont Sharp Cheddar Cheese, so I am adding the photo of the packaging for you to see.)
  • 1/4 cup of Franks Hot Sauce
  • 1 cup Crumble Blue Cheese
  • 1/4 cup of yellow sharp cheddar cheese (just to add a contrast to the top)
  • ITEM NEEDED: small cast iron skillet(s)!!!
Directions:

1.  Boil Pasta and set aside.

2.  Grate gouda, cheddar and fontina cheeses.  

3.  Set cheese aside until later.

4.  Melt 1/2 cup of butter in saucepan on low heat.

5.  Add flour, salt, pepper.

6.  Whisk together in saucepan and add 1 tsp spicy brown mustard.

7.  Continuing over low heat slowly whisk in 4 cups of milk.  Whisk until it has thickened.

8.  Slowly add in grated cheeses and continue to stir while they are melting into the rue. 

9.  Once rue has melted, add pasta, 1/2 cup blue cheese (save rest for topping) and hot sauce.  Stir.

10.  Place individual servings into small cast iron skillets.  Top with shredded cheddar cheese and blue cheese.  Bake at 325 for 10 mins to melt top cheeses.

11.  Serve, but CAUTION....cast iron skillets stay hot for long periods of time!  (IF serving to children, remove from skillet before serving!)

STORAGE TIP:
We love to use Ziplock Round small containers for storing individual servings of Mac N Cheese for the week.  Our Mac N Cheese recipes make about 12 servings, so left overs are a must. 

Our son LOVES to have left over Mac N Cheese to reheat for lunch during the week.  So these storage containers really work well.

We hope you enjoy this yummy, spicy buffalo flavored Mac N Cheese as much as we do.  Also incredibly creamy!!!

If you like this recipe try our other Mac N Cheese recipes.  Here is the link to our 12 weeks of Mac N Cheese recipes...


EnJoY!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Alex's Rockin' Barbecue Sauce

Alex's Rockin' Barbecue Sauce

(Today I have someone special guest posting for me.  He wanted to give it a whirl, and since he has been helping out a lot in the kitchen lately, we decided it was a great opportunity for him to learn.  He created this barbecue sauce from start to finish with my husband's help.  They looked through hundred's of recipes and pulled ingredients that they thought would be good for the flavor they wanted.  And then as they made it, they continued to adjust ingredients to their taste.  This is the finished product and boy was it yummy on our Big Green Egg ribs!)

Hi, I'm Alex, the son of The Patriotic Pam.  I am only 11 years old and that proves that anyone can cook.  I chose to start cooking, because it is fun to learn for when I get older.  Also it is fun and important as a family in the kitchen.  I am the cook and photographer for this post.  Hope you try and enjoy my creation.



Ingredients





  • 1/4 Cup Butter
  • 1 Ea Small yellow Onion
  • 3  Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Ea Jalapeno
  • 1 Cup ketchup
  • 1 Cup Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vineager
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 1/3 Cup regular yellow mustard
  • 1/4 Cup Apple juice
  • 2  Tbsp Soy sauce
  • 2  Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Frank's Hot Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Firmly Packed Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup molasses
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar (in the Raw)

Directions





  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat,melt the butter.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeƱo and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft.
  3. Add ketchup, tomato sauce, vinegar, honey, mustard, apple juice, soy sauce, worcestershire, hot sauce, liquid smoke (if using), dark brown sugar, molasses, and sugar in the raw, salt, and pepper.
  4. Mix well and bring to a simmer.
  5. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring often, until thickened.
  6. Remove from the heat and serve or cool and store the sauce in a airtight container in the refrigerator. 
If you enjoy this homemade sauce, try our favorite homemade Honey Mustard too!

ENJOY!




Friday, February 22, 2013

Wowza Weekend - My 1st Link Party

Wowza Weekend Link Party #1
It's time to PARTY....

WAIT....Before we do, let me share with you my favorite project of the week!


This is my Letter "M" for my updated mantel this week.  Made from a wooden letter cut out, scrap paper and good ole modpodge!  Here is where you can see the tutorial.  

OK, NOW it's Party Time...

This weekend will be my first time hosting a link party.  Thank you for stopping by.  I am interested in seeing links to great recipes, fun crafts and any tips you have to offer.  PLEASE NO ETSY SHOPS or CONTESTS!!!  


  • I ask that when you link up, please grab my button and place it on your blog post or somewhere on your website so others hear about this party too.  


The Patriotic Pam

  • Please consider following me via GFC (Google Friend Connect) or BlogLovin in my sidebar.

  • Also if you don't mind, please look through others links....on the links you like leave them a comment.  Pin your favorite projects too. 

  • Don't forget to come back on Monday to VOTE for your favorite links.  

  • And last but not least, please like me on FACEBOOK and follow me on PINTEREST, as I plan to feature my favorite links on those pages.  


EnJoY!